Repentance Before Baptism?
The scriptures teach that baptism should be preceded by repentance. Some religious leaders are so happy when sinners request to be baptized that they rush them into the baptistery without making sure if they are truly ready for the service. The Lord through the Holy Spirit puts Godly sorrow in the heart of the sinner to lead him to hate sin. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Then, genuine repentance follows.
Repentance leads to a full reformation of life. “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Reformation of life means the stopping of sinful habits and practices. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Paul put it this way in Romans 6:2, “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
What did those who practiced sorcery do to show their repentance in Acts 19:19? They burned their scrolls, showing that they were ceasing their former practices. So, for thieves, repentance will cause them to sever their relationship to ill -gotten gain (Luke 19:8). For Homosexuals, repentance will cause them to sever their immoral sexual practices (1 Corinthians 6:9). And for adulterers, repentance prior to baptism would mean that they would have ceased living in illicit sexual unions (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
John the Baptist asked Herod not just to acknowledge his sin and ask forgiveness and continue to live with Herodias, “his brother Philip’s wife” (Mark 6:17). But John asked him to put Herodias away because “it [was] not lawful for [Herod] to have her” (Mark 6:18). The law of Moses strictly prohibited a marriage such as that (Leviticus 18:16; 20:21).
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In His service,